3 ‘Gap Year’ Options for Grads of Our Independent Boarding School

LCS students participate in a community service project in Ecuador
LCS students participate in a community service project in Ecuador

The idea of taking a year off between high school and university (a “gap” year) is becoming increasingly popular amongst Canadians. Globalization has brought with it a growing emphasis on intercultural awareness, international experience, and adaptability to the diverse environments we now live in.

Parents, university admissions teams, and employers alike recognize how a well-spent gap year abroad can help young people build self-reliance, an evolved world view, valuable practical experience, and stronger communication skills.

At Lakefield College School (LCS), about 5-10% of students decide to take a gap year after graduation. Our university counselling team works with each one, mapping out a plan to ensure their year away is time well spent.

Here are a few of the gap year opportunities LCS offers new grads.

LCS Grads Can Work Abroad at One of our Sister Schools

Lakefield College School is a member of Round Square, a worldwide network of 160 schools in 40 countries. Round Square schools are united by their holistic approach to learning, and a shared commitment to the ideals of internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership, and service.

LCS graduates who want to live out these ideals by travelling abroad and immersing themselves in a likeminded community, can apply to spend their gap year working as a teaching assistant in one of our sister schools.

This is a tremendous opportunity for exploration and growth for any student, and a particularly exciting option for LCS grads who are considering a career in education.

LCS students at the BSDA school in Kampong Cham, Cambodia
LCS students at the BSDA school in Kampong Cham, Cambodia

LCS Boarding School Grads Can Tour the UK & Europe on a BATS Scholarship

Lakefield has developed a special relationship with alumni from Great Britain who over the years have attended our private boarding school in Ontario. British students who enjoyed the warmth of the Grove community during the Second World War were particularly grateful for the experience, and felt inspired to bestow a gift on LCS and our future graduates.

That generous gift was the British Alumni Travelling Scholarship (BATS), which since 1980 has helped 1 or 2 selected gap year students per year travel overseas to the UK and Europe. Recipients of this award often describe their year abroad as a life-changing experience that better prepared them for university.

“The most important things I took away from my BATS year are learning to be responsible for myself,” reflects BATS recipient, Erica Armstrong, “learning to live with less and appreciate more…[and] to become more open to different types of people and their cultures – especially now that I’m at university living with so many different types of people.

Travel abroad can be the ideal way for high school graduates to build self-confidence, stretch beyond their habitual routines and comfort zones, and feel inspired by different cultures and new ideas. In this sense, the gap year represents a space in which young adults can truly come into their own, and proceed to university with a renewed sense of purpose.

LCS students on their way to volunteer in Costa Rica, Cambodia, and Ecuador
LCS students on their way to volunteer in Costa Rica, Cambodia, and Ecuador

Grads can Choose from a Range of Gap Year Volunteer Programs

LCS grads are not limited to our private school programs for gap year activities. There are numerous gap year providers that recruit students to participate in rewarding volunteer initiatives across the globe – or closer to home.

Students who want to give back while gaining real-world experience have an array of options, including:

  • Environmental conservation
  • Community service and building projects
  • Helping to deliver educational programs

Volunteer abroad gap programs come in all shapes and sizes, running from as little as two weeks up to a full year away, with breaks so students can return home for the holidays.

The LCS university counselling team directs students toward safe, structured, reputable gap year programs that will be personally fulfilling – while adding a valuable dimension to their CVs.

Are you looking for a private boarding school that challenges your child to learn, grow, and explore?

Visit Lakefield College School to learn more about our day and boarding programs and admissions process.